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Village Food & Drink

Café on the hill

Posted on October 22 2013 at 12:56:22 0 comments

Full English!

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Sally Oldaker and Louise Robinson enjoy a leisurely lunch at Coopers Farm Shop.

Since being taken over by Ali Humphrey this spring, Coopers Farm Shop has introduced a raft of new idea to entice customers through the doors, and the most popular development has been the on-site café.

Louise and I were invited to check out the new autumn/winter menu one Friday lunchtime, when there were a fair few other diners in situ despite the filthy weather. We were welcomed by shop manager Alex Ikari and had a little browse of the well-stocked deli before taking our seats in the café area.

Considering the size of the café, there’s a decent choice of food – the main menu features a range of lunchtime classics such as soup of the day, omelettes and jacket potatoes, as well as larger meals like cider home-baked ham with egg and chips.

And there’s a specials board too, which today offered home-baked ham with parsley sauce, a steak and onion baguette, and a special deal on the all-day breakfast.

Both of us considered the soup, which was sweet potato and tomato, but we really wanted something more substantial.

Louise liked the idea of the savoury tart of the week, as we had seen these on display in the shop, but eventually settled on mushrooms in a Stilton sauce on garlic bruschetta.

I had already decided on the all-day breakfast (minus the mushrooms), and Alex Ikari – who was competently looking after café customers as well as serving in the shop while Ali manned the kitchen – insisted that we also share a bowl of chips between us, as she said they were amazing… it would have been rude not to!

But first we needed to choose our drinks, and although the range of teas and coffees were tempting on a cold day, we were intrigued by the collection of old fashioned-looking bottled drinks made by Fentimans.

I went for Rose Lemonade (attracted by its pink hue) and Lou chose Dandelion & Burdock, which she had been craving for ages.

Both were delicious - the Dandelion & Burdock, with its liquorice flavour, was just like it used to taste, and the lemonade smelled and tasted of Turkish Delight!

Before long, our food arrived, piping hot and attractively presented. You’re probably thinking there’s not a lot you can say about a full English, but you’d be surprised how many places get it wrong.

This one ticked all the boxes: three well-done (but not cremated) sausages, two rashers of crisp yet juicy bacon with a fantastic smoky flavour, a fried egg with a gooey centre, a scoop of baked beans, a grilled tomato and triangles of toasted white bread.

The sausage and bacon were sourced locally, and I could definitely taste the difference compared to the supermarket meat I usually buy.

Louise was equally impressed by her juicy mushrooms in a rich and creamy sauce, which came on a trendy rectangular plate – it was quite a big portion, but she said it was very more-ish and far too nice to leave any!

The balance of flavours was exactly right, with the Stilton not too overpowering.

Dessert-lovers are in for a treat at Coopers, which offers a variety of beautiful-looking cakes and tarts that can be eaten in or taken home.

However, realising that I couldn’t sample any of them due to my milk allergy, Ali kindly offered to whip up a quick pudding that we could both enjoy.

I should point out that this special treatment isn’t only reserved for reviewers – if you have a special dietary requirement, you can contact the café in advance of your visit and they will do their best to accommodate you.

Ali created a dark chocolate roulade, which was absolutely delicious; we were expecting it to be like a sponge, but it had more of a mousse consistency, very soft and cocoa-y.

The usual cream was replaced with a very unusual ingredient – blackcurrant and chocolate jam!

The jam, which is on sale in the shop (I bought myself a jar to take home), was just fabulous, really tangy and fruity and a perfect partner for the sweet chocolate.

We and all the other customers were very well looked after throughout the meal, and the passion for food at Coopers Farm was very clear.

Tasty home-cooked dishes, great service, relaxed surroundings, and just up the road from the office – we will have to do this more often!

*  Christmas hampers, foodie gift sets and many other gift ideas will soon be in stock – and Coopers will continue their free delivery service throughout the festive season.


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